The wilds of nature

UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER, Northern Minnesota

I woke up just past dawn for my third day on the Mississippi River. It had rained heavily all night and as I was launching off from a campsite called Coffee Pot the sun came out in full force, creating steam off the cold river. The scene only lasted for a minute or so and I was able to capture it on video. Enchanting would be how I would describe it.

From here I soon encountered a family of mallards preening themselves on the side of the river, out in the late-morning sun. Malards, the most common type of duck, abound in North America. They took little notice of me whatsoever.

Next up you’ll see the Libellula depressa, which are most certainly your friend. What set these apart from the numerous dragonflies you’ll find in Northern Minnesota along the Upper Mississippi River is that they have two sets of wings and a solid white body. Sort of like an old vintage de Havilland Tiger Moth bi-plane, circa Blixen’s Out of Africa. They love to sun themselves on the rocks in the stream as well as you’ll see, on my old Duluth Canoe bag. The first night whilst setting up camp at Wanagan Landing, Mr. Butler, a six-generation homesteader, spotted two which he referred to as Mosquito Monarchs, who had together in the early evening sun perched together on a log. He had said, “Now that would make a picture, because you rarely see two together like this.” And for the next three days out on the river this would be true. I would only ever find one Libellula depressa at a time.

The next bird you’ll see is a long-legged wader called the Great Egret. The egrets are funny because they will watch you and then fly a bit further down the river. And then watch you again and as you approach, fly a bit further. As if it’s a sort of game. What’s great is this cat and mouse scenario enables one to get one’s camera ready as you can see where it had landed. They come solitary like this one or in small groups. They call out when there’s more than one and then they start flying. Really beautiful as they fly – this one, having gone just up river several times, never did come back. Going it alone, sort of like myself, out in the wilds of nature.

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Filed under On CNN, On the Mississippi, Wanderlust

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